Mother and Daughter Charged in Grisly Slaying

tertia-van-rensburg-37121-copy-300x224It is the kind of crime that you see documentaries about on TV: A mother and daughter duo are charged with two counts of first-degree murder after police say that they killed an expectant mother and cut the baby from her womb. They have been charged with both the murder of the mother and the baby that she carried.

According to police, the women cut the baby from the mother’s womb and then delivered it to the hospital. Clarisa Figueroa, a former certified nursing assistant, passed the baby off as her own. 

Police contend that the two plotted for weeks to steal Marlen Ochoa’s baby. They further contend that the Figueroas met Ochoa in a Facebook group called Help a Mother Out. The Figueroas offered to help Ochoa purchase new clothes for her baby. Police claimed that this lured her to their home where they proceeded to murder her and take her baby. The elder Figueroa, who had her tubes tied prior, claimed that she was also pregnant, going so far as to post pictures of the ultrasound.

A Very Bad Plan

The evidence against the Figueroas is fairly damning. The police say that Clarisa told her daughter that she had to kill Ochoa and take her baby. The daughter, Desiree Figueroa, said no and told her boyfriend. The boyfriend called the police and when the police investigated, everyone played it off as an April Fool’s joke. Ochoa first visited their home on April 1st.

On April 23rd, Ochoa went back to their home. This time, Desiree distracted Ochoa with a photo album of her late brother while Clarisa strangled her with a coaxial cable. Ochoa managed to get her fingers between the cable and her neck prompting Clarisa to yell at her daughter. Her daughter then peeled back Ochoa’s fingers and she was strangled to death. Clarisa then set about removing the baby. She cut Ochoa open and took the baby out of her, placing it into a bucket with the placenta. Afterward, she hid Ochoa’s body and called 911 telling them that she had just given birth but the baby was not breathing. A neighbor saw her run out of her home covered in blood and carrying the baby.

An ambulance took both Clarisa and the baby to the hospital where doctors noted she had no signs of having just delivered a baby. Due to the extended lack of oxygen, the baby suffered severe and ultimately fatal brain damage. 

Eventually, everyone caught onto the fact that the baby did not belong to Clarisa Figueroa and traced it back to Marlen Ochoa. Why the police never warned her that there was a threat against her and her baby remains a mystery. While all parties have pleaded not guilty, police say they have Desiree Figueroa’s videotaped confession.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of a serious crime, David Freidberg, Attorney at Law can help you defend yourself from sloppy prosecution, unlawful police work, and unnecessarily severe charges. Call us today at (312) 560-7100 to set up an appointment.

(image courtesy of Tertia van Rensburg)

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